WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Palm Beach Gardens man convicted of attempted kidnapping was sentenced on Tuesday in federal court.
Michael Melillo, 52, was sentenced to 292 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hurley, according to a court official.
According to Federal Bureau of Investigation officials, Melillo and 38-year-old Pavlos Kaimacliotis of Jupiter were accused of plotting to kidnap an unidentified wealthy Palm Beach Gardens man and force his wife to pay a $20 million ransom. If the kidnapped man's wife didn't pay, the kidnappers planned to cut off her husband's fingers or hand and send her the body parts, according to a federal criminal complaint.
Kaimacliotis pleaded guilty in August 2012 to attempting to commit kidnapping and was sentenced in December to close to 10 years in prison.
Federal court documents showed that Melillo told an undercover officer that he had lost approximately $100,000 playing poker and that he needed a way to provide for his young son. Melillo's wife was not willing to speak about the allegations.
Based on informant's tips, the FBI inserted undercover agents posing as fellow kidnappers. Documents showed the agents led Melillo and Kaimacliotis to believe that the intended victim had, in fact, been kidnapped and that ransom money, in the millions, was being dropped off at Palm Beach International Airport. They were arrested later that day by federal investigators.
Dan C. Corcoran and Ashleigh Walters contributed to this story.